2002 Pirelli Tower airplane crash
Most damaged part of the Pirelli Tower shortly after the crash.
|Date||April 18, 2002|
|Summary||Collision with building, for reasons undetermined|
|Fatalities||3 (1 on plane, 2 in building)|
|Aircraft type||Rockwell Commander A112|
On April 18, 2002 at 17:48 (local time), a Rockwell Commander 112 crashed into the upper floors of the Pirelli Tower in Milan, Italy, for reasons still unclear. The crash killed the pilot and two others in the building. Sixty more people sustained injuries in the building and on the ground.
The crash raised fears of a terrorist attack because of the similarities with the September 11th attacks, which had occurred only a few months earlier. A subsequent investigation ruled out terrorism as a motive.
The plane, piloted by 65-year-old Luigi Fasulo, took off from Magadino Airport in Switzerland eighteen minutes before the crash. Later as the plane flew over Milan, Italy the pilot radioed to the control tower at Linate Airport that there was a problem with the retractable landing gear. The tower was arranging an emergency landing. Suddenly the pilot left, leaving another aircraft saying, "No, they told you to land, not me!". Minutes later, at 17:48 local time, the small plane crashed into the Pirelli Tower. The vibration of the crash caused shop windows to break and littered the surroundings with debris and glass. The pilot and two lawyers present inside the building died.
Between thirty and forty people were taken to the hospital with moderate injuries, while fire-fighters contained the fire that resulted from the crash. Immediately after the crash, the nearby Milan central railway station, metro station and the Linate airport were shut down.
Italian officials conducted an investigation after the crash. The cause of the crash was never exactly determined, but the most plausible reason is an accident or a suicide. The pilot was in fact victim of a scam that brought him close to bankruptcy, so the possibility of a spectacular suicide is plausible.
The crash aroused fears of another terrorist attack since it occurred seven months after the September 11th attacks. Because of this, stock markets around the United States and Europe fell sharply and business trading in Milan was suspended. The fears abated when investigators concluded that the crash was not an act of terrorism.
- "Three dead as plane hits Milan's tallest building". CNN. April 19, 2002. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
- REUTERS: [rtsp://realserver.kataweb.it/videob/video/news/reuters/reuters_1904_01_250k_pirellone.rm] Air accident at Milan (Video in Italian), October 5, 2007
- Corriere della Sera:  Article in italian
- Janine Yagielski: New Yorkers' first reaction: 'Not again', CNN, April 19, 2002. URL Accessed: August 4, 2006
- BBC News: Markets rattled by Milan plane crash, April 18, 2002. URL Accessed: August 4, 2006
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